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“Insanity Is Doing The Same Thing Over And Over Again And Expecting Different Results”

– Albert Einstein

statistics tutorBy the time you read this article, most people’s New Year’s Resolutions will have been abandoned. WHY IS TRUE CHANGE SO DIFFICULT?

In my experience, it usually stems from three things:
– Inadequate motivation
– Wishful thinking
– Trying to do too much, too fast

Inadequate Motivation: Changing study habits and school performance is particularly difficult because children have a hard time seeing the long term consequences of their bad habits, while the television watching or video games they have to give up to make the changes provide immediate and positive strokes. We parents have to create much more immediate consequences to drive our children to change those bad habits. For example, you might help things along by eliminating your child’s clothing allowance and money for entertainment. Reinforce the lesson by reminding them that in life, when people do poorly in their jobs (a child’s primary job is their education) they get fired and lose their income.

Wishful Thinking: I meet with parents every day who know how far behind their child is in school and yet still resist making changes to their child’s commitments, schedules and habits. They hope that somehow, things will just change, and that learning and grades will turn around on their own. Instead, they need some changed priorities and a time-tested plan to succeed. That plan, almost certainly, will not be to “do what you’ve always done.”

Changing Too Much, Too Fast: The literature is full of data showing how bad we humans are at making big changes. When we undertake big changes all at once, we inevitably slip up, and when we do, we give up. There is persuasive evidence that making small continuous changes is far more effective. Don’t worry, these small, “compounding” changes will ultimately create large results. But start small if you want changes to stick.

If you are struggling to help your child change their academic performance, feel free to call me. We specialize in making lasting improvements in learning and I’m always happy to talk about education with anyone, anytime. Happy New Year!

By |2014-10-30T06:06:04+00:00October 30th, 2014|Effective Learning, in-home tutoring|0 Comments

The Two Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When Purchasing Tutoring

TutorsMathMost parents come to me looking to help their students turn around bad grades, improve understanding, and restore confidence. Parents are right to seek out one-on-one in home tutoring to deal with these problems. One-on-one tutoring from a subject expert, hand matched to the personality and learning style of each student is by far the most effective solution to these academic problems. Unfortunately, many parents unknowingly undermine much of what tutoring can accomplish by making two mistakes, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. Here they are:

Beginning Tutoring Too Late: One-on-one tutoring is expensive enough that many parents try everything else first. The problem is that by the time their other options are exhausted, too many bad test scores and homework grades have been recorded, and too much material has to be re-taught. The end result of this delay in starting is a lower final grade, and actually higher costs trying to overcome a more desperate situation when much of the semester is over.

Allocating Too Little Time For Tutoring: After tutoring more than a quarter of a million students, we at Santa Clarita In Home Tutoring have a lot of data about what it takes to turn around bad grades and overcome understanding problems. It takes 3 hours per week of tutoring for about 60 days to make a 2 letter-grade improvement with an expert tutor. There is hard work to be done, material to relearn, and good grades to record. In spite of this, many parents ask to try an hour or two of tutoring per week to start, figuring that they can always add more if necessary. Again, this is exactly the wrong approach. Not only does it fly in the face of decades of experience, but by the time the parents realize that they haven’t provided enough tutoring, their child’s grades and knowledge gaps are often too big to close by semester’s end.

If you truly want to fix grade problems, build a solid knowledge base, and restore your child’s knowledge base, then start early, and provide enough tutoring immediately. You can always dial back once things are on the right track. That is the proven formula for success.

By |2018-08-23T20:56:15+00:00September 30th, 2014|Effective Learning, in-home tutoring|0 Comments

Three Essential Mid-Semester Tips

geometry tutorsThe end of school is around the corner. To keep good grades within reach and to finish strong, watch out for these three important things:
(1) Letting Burnout Settle In
(2) Missing Opportunities To Repair Bad Grades And Earn Extra Credit
(3) “Cramming” For Final Exams

Now, eight months into the school year, most students are tired and overworked. The homework workload from our schools is huge. Sports and other activities take their toll too, making for crammed schedules and late nights trying to keep up. Yet this final four to six weeks of school can make the difference between good and poor grades. Fight distraction and burnout by setting and rewarding short-term goals. Keep the mood positive and the focus clear by celebrating each small success.

Know now whether your child’s grades are in trouble. Get on your school’s online portal and check their grades. If your child has missing assignments, see if they can still be turned in. If they have bad test grades, see if the tests can be retaken. Many teachers offer extra credit opportunities so students can compensate for bad grades earlier in the semester. Even if your child’s teacher has not suggested this, many are open to it if the student approaches them. Now is the time to explore these options, before preparing for final exams becomes the focus and there is no time to do extra credit work.

High school and middle school students will soon have tests that cover material from much or all of the semester. Most students will “cram” for these tests last minute. The problem is that cramming doesn’t work when you have to retain lots of information, or retain it for a long time. Instead, start studying early and in small pieces to insure good long-term recall. Early preparation for finals also allows your child time to identify the material that they did not really understand the first time and get help. Whether they get assistance over lunchtime from their teacher or from a tutor, now is the time to start because it is harder to find help at the very end of the semester when everyone is frantically busy.

By |2014-08-30T06:02:46+00:00August 30th, 2014|Effective Learning, in-home tutoring|0 Comments

7 Skills Students Need for Their Future

boardOver the past few years, there has been a major shift in the traditional education paradigm aimed at helping students become better prepared for the demands of work following graduation. This 21st Century Skills initiative changed the focus for students’ education from just cognitive skills, such as math proficiency, to cognitive and also non-cognitive job skills rooted in personality, attitudes and beliefs. Why should that matter to you and your children? Because schools are changing, and how schools measure student readiness for graduation is also changing.

Check out this video for an interesting take on 7 skills students need for their future according to Dr. Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group, which includes:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination

Want more information? You can download this study from Microsoft Partners in Learning and Pearson Foundation, which looks at the relationship between developing 21st century skills in the classroom and how it relates to perceived quality of work later in life.

By |2014-07-30T05:55:19+00:00July 30th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Three Essentials Keys To Finishing The Semester Strong

Math Tutor SaugusAs the end of the 2013-2014 school-year approaches, students must keep good grades within reach to finish strong. Here are three important things to keep an eye on:
(1) Avoiding burnout and spring fever
(2) Taking Advantage Of Opportunities To Repair Bad Grades And Earn Extra Credit
(3) Studying Effectively For Finals Instead Of Cramming Last Minute

It’s late April and many students are starting to burn out. Spring is in the air, bringing lots of distractions too. Yet, this is the worst time for students to take their eye off the ball at school. The last four to six weeks of the school year often make the difference between good and average grades. Fight distraction and burnout by setting and rewarding short-term goals. Keep the mood positive and the focus clear by celebrating each small success. Try to avoid other commitments until school is done.

Don’t wait to find out that your child’s grades are in trouble. Get online and check their “infinite campus” accounts. If they have missing assignments, see if the work can still be turned in. If they have bad test grades, see if those tests can be retaken. Many teachers offer extra credit opportunities so students can compensate for problems earlier in the semester. Even if your child’s teacher has not suggested this, many teachers are open to it if the student approaches them. Start now, before the crunch of final exams starts.

High school and middle school students will soon have tests that cover material from the entire semester. Most students will “cram,” last minute. Cramming doesn’t work when you have to retain lots of information, or retain it for a long time. Starting early and using the right studying approaches for long-term recall is very important. Do a little every day. Starting early also allows your child to identify material that they did not fully understand the first time and needs re-teaching. Whether this is done over lunchtime with their teacher or at home with a professional tutor, now is the time to start. It is harder to get help at the very end of the semester when everyone is already tied up.

Mary Beth Inchalik is the President of Santa Clarita In Home Tutoring. She has over 20 years of combined regular and special education teaching experience from elementary school through high school. Contact her at (661) 977-1629 or marybethinch@yahoo.com.

By |2018-08-23T20:58:42+00:00June 30th, 2014|Effective Learning, in-home tutoring|0 Comments

New Study: 21st Century Skills Learned in School Positively Correlated with Job Success

New York, NY – A study released today suggests new relationships between skills development, job success, and school. The study, 21st Century Skills and the Workplace: A 2013 Microsoft Partners in Learning and Pearson Foundation Study, conducted by Gallup, confirms the positive connection between the development of the competencies known as 21st century skills – critical thinking, real world problem solving, collaboration and communication skills – and future job success. Importantly, more than half of those surveyed (59%) said that they developed the skills they use at their current job outside of school.

The findings of the study, conducted by Gallup from April 26-30, 2013 among 1,014 individuals aged 18-35 who are either employed or students, also indicates that individuals with college degrees were more likely to have developed 21st century skills than those with a high school diploma. For example, 50% of college graduates have experience working on real-world problem solving projects, compared to 28% of high school graduates. However the youngest individuals in the study (age 18-22) were more likely than those between the ages of 23-35 to have employed 21st century skills—findings that indicate greater development of these skills in the high school years among the younger students.
The survey also looked at the correlation between student success, the classroom environment, and teacher-student relationships and found that young Americans who have teachers who care about them and know their aspirations and dreams were much more likely to have developed the key 21st century skills that are a predictor of work success.

“This survey tells us that young people know for themselves what educators already understand: that an individual’s ability to thoughtfully employ skills like critical thinking, real world problem solving, collaboration and communication correlate directly with their ability to succeed,” said Pearson Foundation President and CEO Mark Nieker. “Just as important, young people also understand that these 21st century skills have a big hand in shaping their chance for success both in- and out-of-school.”

By |2014-05-30T09:00:36+00:00May 30th, 2014|Effective Learning, in-home tutoring|0 Comments

Where Will Your Children’s Education Take Them?

basic math tutorsThe world is getting much more competitive. College graduates are out of work in huge numbers. Having a solid education is no longer enough to insure success. The ability to think and learn independently plus powerful habits and motivation are essential too. Relying entirely on public education and taking summers off from learning to decompress is no longer a safe choice. In fact, summer is the ideal time to shore up skills not mastered during the school year, and to supplement skills and knowledge to expand your child’s horizons.

Here are some ideas:

  • Strengthen weak fundamental skills. Reading, writing and math are crucial to future academic success. School work will get tougher and tougher each year if the foundations are weak.
  • Develop advanced skills like early reading (phonics), speed-reading, superior reading comprehension, and effective writing.
  • Weak study skills undermine success and there is rarely time during the school year to develop these critical habits. Working one-on-one with a tutor will ensure these essential skills and habits are acquired and reinforced before next school year begins.
  • Summer is a great time for high school students to prep for the SAT and ACT tests. Their choice of colleges, and your costs to send them are highly dependent on these test results. Most students leave too little time to develop the broad vocabulary and speed in math that is essential to success.
  • Summer school itself often requires the help of a good tutor to succeed. The learning is rapid paced and the workload is enormous. A student who gets “lost” for just a day or two may never catch up when the pace is this fast.
  • Use summer to help your child find their passion. Encourage them to read and study a subject of their own choice- something that motivates them and cultivates a love for reading and writing. Both of those skills are essential in today’s world, yet lost in a world of texting and TV.

Summer tutoring programs are becoming an essential component to long-term success in academics and in life. They don’t take much time and can be tailored to your family’s schedule.

Mary Beth Inchalik is the President of Santa Clarita In Home Tutoring Tutoring. She has over 20 years of combined regular and special education teaching experience from elementary school through high school. Contact her at (661) 977-1629 or marybethinch@yahoo.com.

By |2018-08-23T20:59:55+00:00May 30th, 2014|In-Home Tutoring Santa Clarita|0 Comments

The New 3 R’s

Tutor Santa Clarita CAOK, I’m taking a little poetic license to make a point. But in the United States, a ‘Rithmetic Revolution is Required (the new 3-R’s). We are in danger of having our entire way of life undermined by our poor performance in Science and Math Education.

America, and especially California is the home of innovation, of high-technology, and of world leading entrepreneurship. Silicon Valley is our “poster child” for technical and innovation excellence. But, without a Revolution in Math and Science Education, we are in trouble.

US Students recently finished 25th in math and 17th in science in the ranking of 31 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 25 years ago, the US led the world in high school and college graduation rates. Now we rank 20th and 16th respectively. These statistics are sobering. But are they important?

You bet they are. Studies project that 60% of the new jobs in the 21st century will require skills possessed by only 20% of the current workforce. Two thirds of these new jobs will require a strong knowledge of math and science.

We are lucky here in the Santa Clarita Valley. Our public schools are good, and our parents push their children to excel It is a good combination. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that solid math and science skills are going to be essential for our children to succeed. This means more than just getting good grades, it means mastering these math and science skills so they are second nature.

As I’ve written before, Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry are building block skills that must be totally fluent for the 21st century worker. Too many of our students grasp the skills only long enough to get a good grade and then struggle in more advanced classes when they are expected to know these mathematical basics backwards and forwards.

If your child struggles with math, or just isn’t fast enough and comfortable enough to do their math quickly, now is the time to cement these skills. Only this will build a foundation strong enough to support the higher level math and science knowledge they will need to succeed in higher education and in the workforce.

Mary Beth Inchalik is the President of Santa Clarita In Home Tutoring. She has over 20 years of combined regular and special education teaching experience from elementary school through high school. Contact her at (661) 977-1629 or marybethinch@yahoo.com.

3 Hidden Reasons Students Struggle

When parents or students contact us for tutoring help, it is invariably because they are concerned about poor grades. Getting a student back on track and getting grades up must be the first priority. But, understanding why the student was struggling in the first place is critical to providing them with the tools to excel after our tutoring stops. But to provide the best help possible, we have to dig deeper and understand why the student is struggling.

To be sure, some times the student is only struggling because of the difficulties of a particular course, or a challenging teacher. In our experience, this happens most frequently in math. Algebra, Geometry, and Calculus fundamentally change the rules for most students. They have to be able to deal with abstraction (variables, imaginary numbers, etc…), proofs and complex theorems, and they have to be able to visualize and develop spatial reasoning. Some students just need more time to grasp these concepts and to practice, and one-on-one tutoring is ideal for that.

But, more often than not, students are actually struggling because there is a “hidden” problem that is making the work and the learning a real challenge for them. The three most common of these are:

• Weak Underlying Math Skills
• Weak Fundamental Reading and Writing Skills
• Poor Study Habits

In math, weak underlying skills include problems with basic arithmetic, handling fractions, percentages, positive and negative numbers, and basic algebraic concepts. The tendency of more and more students to use calculators for everything, and for schools to allow students to pass when they are not “fluent and fast” with these basic skills makes the problem worse. These students become crippled when the workload increases and the formulas get more complex. They make basic mistakes and take so long to work through simple operations that they just cannot keep up with more advanced, fast paced courses.

Weak underlying skills in reading comprehension and basic writing affect everything. They will always undermine success because the student will struggle to keep up with new material and to present their written thoughts in a compelling and organized way. The problems get worse the more they are expected to read and digest on their own and the more they are forced to answer questions with essays and not multiple-choice answers.

Poor study habits can be the hardest to spot of all. But, they too affect everything. Students who are disorganized, cannot prioritize, cannot manage time, don’t know how to memorize and don’t know how to study most effectively for long term retention will always struggle as they go up in grade level and the workload gets heavier.

Keep these “hidden” reasons your student might be struggling in mind when you go looking for tutoring help. Be sure your find a tutor who can BOTH help get grades up in your problem course quickly AND identify and work on the root problem so that you and your student are not saddled with a lifelong need for tutoring.

 

Mary Beth Inchalik is the President of Santa Clarita In Home Tutoring. She has over 20 years of combined regular and special education teaching experience from elementary school through high school. Contact her at (661) 977-1629 or marybethinch@yahoo.com.

Study Shows The BEST Way To Learn

Two University of Chicago doctoral students completed research as part of their dissertations that compared the learning results of students who were instructed under a variety of conditions.  In short, they found that working with private, in-home tutors is BY FAR the most effective way to learn.

 

The study compared:

  • Students in a typical classroom of roughly 30 students per teacher
  • Small groups of students in a learning center
  • Students that received private, one-on-one, in-home tutoring

 

Their research showed that mastery of a subject was found to occur in 20% of the students in a classroom setting, 70% in a group learning center setting, and 90% in the students who received private, one-on-one, in-home tutoring.  Perhaps the most striking findings were that the average privately tutored student performed two standard deviations better than the average student in a normal classroom.  This means that the AVERAGE student receiving private one-on-one tutoring performed better than 98% of the students in a normal classroom.  Needless to say, this is an extraordinary difference.

 

This research was not funded by or intended to promote one-on-one tutoring companies.  The research was part of a study to try to find methods to improve classroom teaching so that it could be more competitive.  The results I have highlighted are part of the “benchmark” data that shows how far traditional classroom teaching has to go to be competitive.  This is no slam on teachers, or schools.  I taught in public schools most of my career and I have great respect for teachers and school administrators.  Schools are constrained by standards and budgets and just cannot afford to provide the individualized instruction that one-on-one tutoring from qualified instructors can deliver.  But make no mistake, the differences in how much students learn are huge.

 

All students have the potential to reach the high level of learning that comes from private tutoring.  Private tutoring is not just for students struggling to achieve acceptable results in the classroom.  Private tutoring delivers a level of challenge and subject level mastery that is virtually impossible for even the best and brightest students to achieve in a normal classroom setting.

Mary Beth Inchalik is the President of Santa Clarita In Home Tutoring.  She has over 20 years of combined regular and special education teaching experience from elementary school through high school.  Contact her at (661) 977-1629 or marybethinch@yahoo.com

By |2018-08-23T21:02:17+00:00October 5th, 2013|In-Home Tutoring Santa Clarita|0 Comments

With A Class Size Of One, The Sky’s The Limit

Study after study shows the enormous power of one-on-one tutoring. The reasons are as obvious as they are compelling. The instruction is delivered at a pace that is comfortable for each student. The subjects are presented in the way best suited to each student’s learning style. The tutor can add depth and meaning to subjects that just can’t be delivered in crowded classrooms where the teacher is under the gun to race through the curriculum.

With one-on-one tutoring delivered in the comfort of the home, the experienced tutor can form a bond that just cannot be created in a one to many classroom environment. The result is great grades and a level of interest and motivation that just doesn’t happen in larger groups, or when the instruction is delivered by software, or by a less qualified teacher.

On Average, Our Students Improve 2 Letter Grades In 60 Days Or Less

Yes, that may sound unbelievable. But at Santa Clarita In Home Tutoring, we have tutored nearly a half a million students over the past twenty years, and the data doesn’t lie. One of our expert tutors, working one-on-one with a motivated student can do remarkable things. Just three hours of tutoring each week, focused directly on the problem subject, using the student’s own classroom materials and curriculum, will deliver rapid improvements in understanding, and raise the student’s homework grades, and quiz and test grades. The payback goes beyond better grades too. The student is more confident, less stressed and develops a stronger foundation for future classes.

The Secret Is A Team Of Expert, Experienced, Kind, Caring, Professional One-On-One Tutors, Completely Committed To Your Academic Success

Each of our tutors at Santa Clarita In Home Tutoring is a valued and trusted employee. Every tutor submits to a comprehensive background check, is thoroughly reference checked, agrees to drug testing, and either has a teaching degree or a college degree in an important specialty PLUS experience teaching or tutoring. And we don’t just stop there. We do competency testing and extra training with our tutors.

What we deliver is a far cry from the questionable tutoring you will find on Craigslist, or from a tutoring broker who just scours the classified ads to find someone who looks like they fit your needs. It’s also a far cry from the kind of software-assisted instruction overseen by high school students that you see at so many tutoring facilities. The difference is quite tangible- it means faster grade improvement, better learning, all in a safe environment working with a true expert. Call us today to find out how a hand-selected, experienced, professional tutor, matched precisely to your needs, can make a difference in your life!